“Good Governance in the Levant”
October 29th – 30th, 2018
Towards the end of October 2018, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization organized an exploratory workshop with the theme of “Good Governance in the Levant”, attended by three leading members of the World Academy of Art and Science: Garry Jacobs, the CEO of the WAAS and of the World University Consortium (WUC), Alberto Zucconi, Co-Chairman of the WAAS and Nebojša Nešković, Secretary General of the WAAS.
Alongside the leadership of the World Academy of Art and Science, the exploratory workshop dedicated to “Good Governance in the Levant” was attended by the leadership of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization – Emil Constantinescu, President of the Scientific Council, Andreea Grecu-Ciupală, General Director, Dan Grigorescu, Scientific Director, Luiza Niţă, Director of the Department of the History of Culture and Civilizations in the Levant, by members of the Scientific and Advisory Councils of the IASLCC – Professor Remus Pricopie, the Rector of the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Professor Vlad Nistor, the Director of the Romanian Institute of Archaeology in Athens, Professor Daniel Barbu from the Faculty of Political Sciences at the University of Bucharest, as well as by researchers and specialists in the field under review – Lecturer Daniela Zaharia from the Faculty of History at the University of Bucharest, Professor Florica Mihuţ, Lecturer Valentin Bottez and Lecturer Oana Brânda from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization.
The discussions focused on a series of pressing challenges facing the historical region of the Levant, such as issues of leadership, Middle Eastern stability, managing access to water reserves in Northern Africa, the importance of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea for the Levantine region, but also the issue of the construction of identity in the Balkans. The discussions were held over two days, and attempted to identify a number of solutions and relevant examples of good practices that could be disseminated and implemented with a view towards one of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization’s primary objectives, the creation of meaningful dialogue and the establishment of a culture of peace in the region.
The key thematic bringing all the aspects outlined above together was “good governance”, a comprehensive and integrating concept when applied to the Levantine space. The purpose of good governance is to tactfully approach different identities and to integrate them into an overarching system that ensures their harmonious coexistence. Because cultures are neither standardized nor uniform, it is therefore paramount to be able to promote those elements of the communal past that can be effectively implemented towards building a better future. The essence of good governance is provided by the creation of a system of reference, that groups together macro- elements (states, demographics, religion) and micro- elements (individual stakeholders). Moreover, another characteristic of good governance is the question of capitalization of power: the wider the distribution of power within a given society, the greater their societal stability.
The discussions begun by the first edition of the Exploratory Workshop will be continued in its future editions, which will continue to feature high-profile representatives of the academic communities of Romania and of the world.
“Global governance: the future of democracy, the role of international organizations, challenges and opportunities”
Good governance represents a constant preoccupation of the members of the World Academy of Art and Science, a theme of both reflection and study. Over the course of 2018, the WAAS has organized three international reunions that explored the future of democracy (Dubrovnik, April 2018), the role of international organizations in global economic governance (Paris, May 2018) and current challenges and opportunities with regard to good governance (Dubrovnik, November 2018).
The conclusions arrived at following these reunions may be summarized as follows: “The world in which we live presents a number of challenges and opportunities situated beyond the capacity of even the most powerful nations or groups of nations to efficiently address for the rest of mankind. Peace and security, climate change and environmental management, immigration and population control, commerce and investment, technological development and occupation of labour markets, tax evasion and money laundering, drug trafficking and terrorism force us to look for global solutions, supported by institutions that have the authority to implement them. None of the challenges of the modern world can be efficiently tackled either at the level of the nation-state, which will always pursue its own interests, competing or at times conflicting with those of other nations, or through bilateral agreements or regional national groupings.
All of today’s challenges require greater levels of cooperation and collaboration across the entirety of the global community. We live in an ever more globalized world, yet our governance instruments remain anchored in aging and mostly ineffective institutions, guided by narrow perspectives, misguided priorities, strategies that compete with one another and mutually exclusive objectives. Mankind and its institutions have evolved from the time when international relations were decided by the whims of absolute monarchs and by the ambitions of colonial empires, imposed through violence and enshrined in treaties and bilateral agreements, composed in such a way as to offer great economic advantages to the powerful.
Today, the world is governed by international governmental institutions, charters, conventions, treaties, rules of law, commissions, systems, multinational and national corporations, non-governmental organizations and associations linked to the pursuit of peace, security, commerce, economics, finance, transport, communication, education, science, technology, culture, religion and entertainment. Despite the multiplicity of the paths and instruments of governance, the rapid evolution of global society surpasses the capacity of these institutions to guide, monitor and manage the ever-broadening range of opportunities and challenges that appear. The discrepancy between the needs of mankind and our predominant institutional system is delaying our collective progress, and threatening to undermine the foundations of peace, security, liberty and stability, hard-earned in the aftermath of two World Wars and the Cold War.”
The President of the Scientific Council of the Institute of Advanced Studies for the Levant Culture and Civilization, honored at the Sejong University of South Korea
Seoul , 20th September 2018
At the invitation of the Sejong University of Seoul, the President of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, Emil Constantinescu, held a conference titled “The Memory of Suffering and the Pedagogy of Freedom” President Constantinescu spoke to the 2000 students in attendance about the experience of transition from a Communist dictatorship to democracy in Eastern Europe, and pointed out the similarities between the current situation in the Korean Peninsula and the relations between Romania and the Republic of Moldova – one nation divided into two neighbouring states. The debates were attended by Petru Lucinschi, former president of the Republic of Moldova, and by Ghenadi Burbulis, the most important collaborator of President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Vice-Prime Minister of the Russian Federation between 1990 and 1992.
“The Memory of Suffering and the Pedagogy of Freedom”
„I would like to begin with a confession. I was born in 1939. If that year someone would have crossed the Eurasian continent from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, would have crossed from Tokio to Lisbon only states under civil or military dictatorships. My family lived in a town located on the Nistru river, on the Soviet border. We were twice forced to take refuge from the Red Army, alongside tens of thousands of people and my first memories are related to this desperate exodus, because those who failed to leave were mostly arrested and deported to Siberia.
Memories of a life under tyranny
I lived until de age of 50 under dictatorship, in a country where people did not have the freedom of movement: you could not leave the country and you were forced to work and live in a particular place, allocated by governmental distribution. A dictatorship that would only recognize state or collective ownership, cancelled all forms of free expression and oversaw the personal life of every citizen, by political police suveillance.
I lived through a post-totalitarian transition whose social price was heavily paid. For those of my generation, democracy is not an abstract concept and any situation that undermines democracy and prejudices freedom affects us deeply.
Peace without freedom
The Second World War, which affected both Romania and Korea, caused the death of more than 25 million soldiers and over 73 million civilians, caused huge economic losses and destructions of the world cultural heritage. The atrocities of the two wars in the first half of the twentieth century proved to be insuficient to understand that peace cannot be strengthened only by managing frozen conflicts.
The establishment of communism in Eastern Europe has led to the elimination of constructive competition, removal of free expression and the emergence of an amorphous form, claiming to be a society, where ideology replaces feeling, free words are traped in slogans, and freedom in general is replaced by concealed terror. All these changes have defined the new face of Eastern Europe, crisscrossed by the suffering of milions of people. The result of Soviet occupation: implementation of communism in Eastern Europe by violent means and bloody repression of anti-communist resistance. The removal of actual and potential opponents was achieved through torture and re-education centers, extermination prisons, forced labor camps, political assassinations, summary executions, mass deportations. Amid a precarious peace secured during the Cold War by focusing on arms race, the price paid by the citizens of the communist states in Eastern Europen was extremely heavy: milions of deaths, tens of milions of human lives destroyed.
When oppression, censorship, terror seemed to ensure a smooth future for communism, the resulting hardship turned into true pedagogy of freedom, thus building solid characters, able to tear appart that status quo.
Culture of freedom defeats dictatorship’s tanks
The fall of communism was, first of all, an ideological collapse that prepared the political collapse of dictatorships in most countries of the former Soviet Block. Culture played a fundamental role in this context. Parallel to the official speech, an „underground” speech was created, meant to denounce deception and falsity and to reject those who „stopped thinking”. The danger came from the intellectuals in their own countries, despised by the members of the communist apparatus. The danger came through the “word” of the democrat intellectuals and through their “writings”, illegally disseminated to citizens of their countries, tricking surveillance and censorship.
The change took place when Mihail Gorbachev's new team launched "perestroika" – the economic reform and "glasnosti" – the transparency, meaning the freedom of communication. We have among us today, in this room, one of the most important members of this team to whom we owe the peaceful transition to democracy: Petru Lucinschi, doctor in philosophy, who later became the Chairman of the Parliament of independent Moldova and democratic President of the Republic of Moldova.
After the peaceful change of the totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe, the first democratic presidents, freely elected by the people, were representatives of the intellectual elite.
The transition was not easy. For those who experienced communism and had to live through the postcommunist transition period, nothing is more true and instructive than the reading of The Exodus. We understand best why it took 40 years for the Hebrew people to reach the Holy Land, what is the meaning of the worship of the golden calf, the temptation of collective debauchery, violence and treason, the need of a Table of Laws and the punishment for failing to comply with the Ten Commandments.
The historical memory appears to be the element explaining why citizens from former communist countries refuse to support totalitarian approaches, regardless of the coat they are wearing. The pedagogy of freedom needs a memory of suffering because, as in the case of health, we perceive the value of freedom only when we no longer have it.
Freedom and bread
Debating the relations between the democratic power and individual freedom also targets the distribution of wealth. In “The Karamazov Brothers” novel by Dostoyevsky, Ivan tells Alyosha that if people would be asked to choose between freedom and bread they would choose bread. This is also the psychological foundation on which totalitarian regimes ground themselves, in order to obtain a consensual obedience. A signifcant part of the population in the former communist countries regrets the times when they had poorly paid but safe jobs, lived in miserable conditions but in houses received by government allocation and they were given minimum food rationed by cards. The most important psychological element stopping rebellion was, paradoxically, the fact that everyone was equally poor and they did not feel humiliated one in relation to the other. The comeback of neo-communist parties is based on this nostalgia.
In the democratic societies with market economy from the Occident, freedom is followed by a chase after material goods that create significant differences between the rich and the poor. These differences are often not correlated with the quality and quantity of work performed and with the contribution to the general welfare of the society. Many times theese realities overwhelm the ones who believed in the ideals of democratic principles in the Western World.
Only through a greater transparency in the governing process and the „hidden relations” governments have with corporations, more fair governance methods can be reached.
The experience of the communist regime, which tried to alienate our natural humanist European vocation, was paid at the cost of tens of millions of human lives. Freedom regained through sacrifice has created not only rights, but also responsabilities, we gradually familiarize ourselves with, in often difficult social and psychological conditions. The citizens of the former communist countries have been deprived of all their rights, including the right to live, for half a century. Their suffering and struggle lesson is for each of us a first step towards understanding the greater lesson of freedom: respecting each other’s freedom.
The assimilation of the democratic conscience needs more time than the one required by the adoption of democratic laws and institutions. Let us remember that when the American system of power separation was exported to Latin America or South-East Asia, it invariably led to totalitarian regimes, until a democratic conscience able to ensure the functioning of democratic institutions was formed.
Democratic culture is threatened at the beginning of the third millennium also by the dominant postmodern culture, that seems to invalidate the appeal of the ideals of the European Union founding fathers. Political leaders, the same as ordinary citizens, seem to ignore the social significance of governance by thrift, virtue and moderation, essential moral values. Perhaps exactly a return to these values, given that the social costs of governance are supported increasingly harder, where society is rapidly being divided between the privileged and the disadvantaged, could be a reconstruction tool for politics on other grounds than the collectivism imposed during communism or the selfish individualism promoted in capitalism. Return to moral values could be an alternative to the careless or contemptuous attitude towards the needs and the requirements of those treated only as a mass of voters or producers and consumers of goods and information.
In the long run, for the survival or the quality of democracy the essential factor is the democratic conscience of those who chose freely. In „The Karamazov Brothers”, Dostoyevsky tells us that: „man prefers stillness, and even death, to the freedom of solitary choice between good and evil. Nothing is more seductive for man than his freedom of conscience, but nothing is a greater cause of suffering”. Dostoyevsky wrote these lines in the nineteenth century, from the perspective of people who never knew individual freedom or democracy.
One hundred years later, in December 1989, young people who demonstrated against the communist dictatorship in the University Square in Bucharest, did not ask for bread, or for higher wages. They voiced „Free elections!”, „Freedom of the press!”, „Freedom we love you, we die for you!” and „We will die and we will be free!”. At midnight, the repression troops went in with tanks against the unarmed demonstrators, who did not threaten any governmental institution, but offered flowers to the military. Dozens of people were killed and thousands arrested and tortured. Those arrested would have been killed too, as it happened 5 days prior to theese events in Timisoara, if not half a million of Bucharest citizens would surround next day the tanks and the symbols of communist regime. The incredible lack of fear and the solidarity of people forced the dictator to flee and freedom was gained. In one of history’s bright moments, people were willing to die for the ideals of freedom and democracy.
The answer regarding the future of freedom and democracy is the choice of each generation and, in the end, of each of us.
This was the experience of our transition from the communist dictatorship to democracy, which I have tried to present to you sincerely, as I have lived directly.
Good or bad, you, the next generation, can decide what you choose to learn from it. I can tell you what we, Romanians, can learn from the experience of South Korea and what I have understood from my three visits to Korea over the last 24 years.
I would use a single word - patriotism, an increasingly rare sentiment in today's globalized world. And I would first refer to solidarity. Over the last three decades, we have secured our territorial integrity by integrating into NATO, the economic security through EU integration, and we have had the highest economic growth rate in the EU for the past 5 years.
But, 100 years after the Great Union of all the Romanian lands in a single state, we are more disunited than ever of group or individual political or social interests. We need to redefine ourselves in the globalized world by what we are, not by what we have.
Only this way , we can preserve our national identity and dignity.”
”The Levant Initiative for Global Peace", presented at the World Alliance of Religions' Peace Summit
Seoul, 17th-19th September 2018
The Peace Summit of the World Alliance of Religions, held yearly since 2014 by the South Korean non-governmental organization “Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light” (HWPL) represents a platform for cooperation through which political and religious leaders from across the world, youth and women’s organizations, journalists and representatives of academia can exchange experience and good practices with the main objective of fostering peace at a global level. This interdisciplinary approach, founded on the principles found in the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) aims to develop international cooperation both between states and at the level of civil society in a wide range of countries, to prevent conflicts and preserve peace, to intensify religious dialogue and educate the younger generations in the spirit of peace, and to promote the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. The HWPL organization has attempted to co-opt as many state and non-state actors as possible, to join its efforts to peacefully unite the Korean peninsula and promote peace on the global level. The 2018 edition was held on the Incheon Stadium in Seoul with an audience of 30.000, and had as its main goal the gathering of support from world leaders for signing the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War, in order to present it to the United Nations, who would then adopt it through a UN Resolution. Interfaith dialogue and the importance of educating the younger generations in the spirit of peace were central themes to the debate sessions organized around the plenary lectures of the summit. The President of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, Emil Constantinescu, presented the Levant initiative for global Peace, underlining the role of cultural diplomacy in the creation and consolidation of a culture of peace worldwide. On this occasion, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization signed a collaborative protocol with the “Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light” organization, in order to promote cultural diplomacy.
Message of the President Emil Constantinescu at the 4th Annual Commemoration of the September 18th WARP Summit:
„Any meeting in South Korea, a country that bears the suffering of a people divided into two states due to an aggressive atheist ideology, has a special significance for our world”
„The first Summit of the World Alliance of Religions for Peace organized in Seoul in September 2014 was one of the most important events dedicated to peace during times when many new bloody conflicts threaten different regions of the world. The Summit in Seoul aimed to achieve much more than solving punctually and temporarily those conflicts. It aimed to create a culture of peace through restoration of harmony among people and between people and nature, as they were offered us by God, no matter how religions or beliefs praise Him.
I truly admire the exceptional endeavors that Chairman of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light – Man Hee Lee has made in order to organize such popular manifestations of youth in several places of the world and the support that Chairman Man Hee Lee offered to promoting the cultural diplomacy, through his personal participation in the meetings with different world religious leaders and important representatives of the academic medium, in several countries’ Parliaments, during the conferences held under the aegis of the UN in Washington, UNESCO in Paris or in the Parliament of Romania, and I have been honored to work together for this noble mission.
Four years later, we are together again for discussing how we can implement the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War. Any meeting in South Korea, a country that bears the suffering of a people divided into two states due to an aggressive atheist ideology, has a special significance for our world, that is torn by so many ideological, ethnic, social and, not least, religious divisions.
The event which is taking place on this Stadium is mainly addressed to the youth, who do not want to be forced by their country leaders to fight against each other, and to women, who would like to protect not only themselves, usually innocent victims, but to protect also their husbands, children and brothers from the horrors that any war inevitably bring about. Youth and women can become the most persuasive emissaries of peace in the present and in the future.
Avoiding wars and peace building process require a laborious effort to create a culture of solidarity, outlining a pragmatic style, in which the statements should be enforced by the effective actions. The fact that so many distinguished representatives of the world public opinion, religious leaders, politicians, diplomats and cultural personalities are today in Seoul represents such a beneficial action. Differently from four years ago, we are now much more people, more united and more determined to stop the wars wherever they are.
I believe that the Declaration of World Peace proclaimed in Seoul can gather around it everyone – no matter that they are men, women, youth and children – ready to unite and endue the mantle of peace, taking responsibility to promote the message of peace to the entire world.”
The Black Sea- Baltic Sea Forum. "Solidarity peacekeeping: Greater Europe and Asia. Experience and projects"
Seoul, 16th September 2018
The fifth edition of the Black Sea – Baltic Sea Forum it was organized by the International Centre for Black Sea – Baltic Studies and consensus practices” based in Ukraine, and had as its main topic the sharing of common experiences on behalf of countries in Eastern Europe and in Asia in the transitional process from Communist dictatorships to democratic societies and the perspectives for cooperation towards a lasting peace. The event was attended by Ghenadi Burbulis, Prime – Vice- Prime Minister of the Russian Federation between 1990 and 1992, the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, the former president of the Republic of Moldova, Petru Lucinschi, and the first democratically-elected president of Belarus, Stanislav Shushkevich. The Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization was represented by the President of the Scientific Council, Emil Constantinescu. The 6-th edition of the Black Sea – Baltic Sea Forum will take place in Paris, between the 7th and 9th of November 2018, and will have the theme of “Greater Europe at the turn of the 20th – 21st centuries: challenges and threats, solidarity and responsibility”. This occasion will also see the signing of a memorandum of understanding, “Through dialogue to trust, consensus and peace.”
Solidarity of Empathy for Peace
High-Level Meeting of Former Political Leaders in Europe to Spread the Culture of Peace and Call for Support for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula
The conference, held in Bucharest and uniting participants from Central and Eastern Europe, who had directly dealt with the Cold War experience and the painful transition to democracy, represents valuable expertise in the long process of support for the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula, divided in the aftermath of the Second World War into two states: North Korea and South Korea.
In 2011, after President Emil Constantinescu launched “The Levant Initiative for Global Peace”, at the Academy for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, the project was supported by the Interparliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics (IPCGE) that mobilized many religious leaders and academics from many countries in both Europe and Asia. Soon, 38 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe advocated the Initiative. An important milestone has been the cooperation, since 2014, with the Chairman of the Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), Man Hee Lee, and the associated women and youth organizations, which gave an extraordinary impetus to the universal peace movement through the Summits organized in Seoul, and the signing of the HWPL's declarations by personalities all over the world. A veteran of the Korean war of 1950-1953, Man Hee Lee, Chairman of “Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light” (HWPL), transformed his traumatic experience in a crusade for peace.
The conference held in Bucharest, moderated by Emil Constantinescu, president of The Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, benefited from the participation of Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine 2005-2010, Stjepan Mesić, President of Croatia 2000-2010, Rexhep Meidani, President of Albania 1997-2000, Stanislav Shushkevich, the first democratically-elected President of Belarus 1991-1994. They were joined by Haris Silajdžić, former Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Milka Ristova, Judge of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Macedonia. All the above, actors of contemporary history, a time of regime changes, painful economic and social reforms, ethnic conflicts, can contribute with a remarkable experience to the foundation of a culture of peace.
President of Romania 1996 – 2000
Chairman of the Scientific Board of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization
Chair of the discussion
„I believe that a great humanity conversation must now be encouraged, so that larger and larger groups of people could develop a free flux of ideas and knowledge worldwide”
„The culture of peace is based on a new type of relations between states, but especially on the relations between people sharing common values, born long before the current nation-states. It is a good time for cultural diplomacy and for us to remember the legacy that old Levant left us.
I believe that a great humanity conversation must now be encouraged, so that larger and larger groups of people could develop a free flux of ideas and knowledge worldwide. Conflict prevention and managing post-conflict situations require a comprehensive balanced vision, which would take into consideration the interests of various ethnic and religious communities, states’ duties and the natural rights of their citizens, the conjectural and long-term interests of regional actors. This vision can be developed only if the representatives able to utter the plurality of voices, questions and desires of billions of people participate in it.
Throughout history, not understanding the Other’s motivations has led to many wrong decisions in foreign policy that triggered conflicts, a lot of them still frozen. That is why the objective of shared values seems to me so important today, within the new structure of international relations. Only the policy of shared values as a basis of dialogue can bring stability. Only a functioning market economy and the rule of law can oppose an oligarchic state generating mass corruption. Enlarging the space of a real democracy, not a façade democracy, means enlarging the space of peace.
I envisage the possibility of establishing a security and peace guaranteed system based more on what we call soft power, as opposed to hard power.
It is true that international politics, as well as classic diplomacy, was built on power and force and it will continue to be so a long time from now on. The concept of soft power is far from being functional, while cultural diplomacy is still at its dawns. I want to be well understood. I do not plead for replacing classic diplomacy with cultural diplomacy. It would mean to encourage a dangerous utopia. But I stand up for associating them. From my experience as scientist, man of culture and statesman, I can say that cultural diplomacy is in the same relation with classic diplomacy as is the non-Euclidean geometry with the Euclidean one, relativistic physics with Newtonian physics, the law of included middle with the law of excluded middle of the Aristotelian logic, modernism and post-modernism with classicism and neoclassicism in literature, music and art. This results in opening another perspective of understanding of some phenomena found under the sign of uncertainty, without denying the one built on previously known facts.
Why do we need cultural diplomacy, this new concept, which the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization and the Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light try to promote with so much passion and engagement? My answer is: because the world is changing. And if the world is changing, politics, in its high meaning of serving community interests, must change too. The famous German strategist Clausewitz considered that war was a continuation of politics with other means. I believe that also peace can be a result of politics, obtained through other means. One of these is cultural diplomacy, – which without intending to replace the traditional diplomacy of dialogue between parties having different interests, supported through different types of pressures and force threats – can complement it with a new element: the dialogue based on understanding the other and, in a wider meaning, a better understanding of the world we live in.
President of Albania 1997-2002
“To reaffirm trust among peoples, it is time to rebuild the concepts on democratic governance, considering the free and fair elections as a necessary condition, while the sufficient conditions are linked to cultural, social and economic emancipation”
“Today’s meeting is an excellent occasion to express our ideas and reaffirm our efforts, aspirations and responsibilities for a world without dictatorships and wars. In 1989, the fall of the Berlin wall, which had physically, and ideologically divided Berlin, Germany and Europe was also the beginning of the thaw of the Cold War across Eastern Europe. But, today, unfortunately, we are experiencing a new Cold War.
In fact something is going wrong in our world. We must understand this backward step; particularly to find the right response for different questions, including the high hierarchy principle of self-determination compared to the principle of territorial integrity, and, above all, to put on a pedestal the protection of Human Rights. For that, any social movement for peaceful development and coexistence must be supported and spread further to the whole world in achieving solidarity and a stable peace. From this perspective, an effective cooperation and reunification process is needed between two parts of Korea; still under a cease-fire.
The last efforts, some days ago, between two Korean Leaders have made a real progress. It indicates that we are getting closer and closer to achieving peace between both North and South Korea. While it’s too soon to lean back and celebrate, the fact that dialogue has proceeded so swiftly, as well as a historic peace agreement being reached, is promising. North Korea likely has strong reasons to work towards this, as sanctions have affected its income hard. Its openness, in one way or another, indicates that things have changed. Also, it was stated that a summit involving the US will take place by June. Here, mutual concessions could lead to meaningful long-term solutions. Let’s hope that the unprecedented recent developments indicate that good things are ahead.
On the other side, while the process of talks with North Korea may seem promising to many, North Korea still has many ways to crash any deal, particularly considering heavy concessions from the US. One must remember that a similar bout of euphoria surrounded the talks between North Korea and South Korea in 2000, but soon everything was falling flat. Actually, Kim Jong-un may be appealing to President Trump’s ego, offering him the possibility of making such a historic deal. He has few reasons to give up his nuclear weapons or to accept South Korea as a legitimate state. Also, he likely hopes to push Trump into loosening America’s hold on the region, which would be a huge mistake. In one way or another, the world should be cautious in its optimism. Also, by improving - even temporarily - relations with South Korea, the North can create a buffer between itself and the United States. It is still too early to tell if the inter-Korean talks will grow into a broader engagement, but while they continue, Seoul can make a credible case to Washington to ease off on military pressure and give diplomacy a chance. On the other side, there are doubts on the dialogue and its perspective. The question is: are we walking into a North Korean trap? Nobody knows exactly…
But, using this precise occasion I would like to briefly mention some other ideas:
There is a need, on an international level, to combine soft power and hard power in a smart power concept. For that, considering the actual critical situation, new amendments are necessary to the UN Charter, particularly a reform is needed for the Security Council. Also, new regulations are needed for different structures or mechanisms of hard power (i.e., NATO) or soft power (i.e., OSCE, or other collective bodies functioning by consensus).
The fight for the guarantee and respect of freedoms and human rights in any corner of the globe remains very important. In this framework, a peculiar problem is the protection of the human life. Thus, based on the principle of Habeas Corpus (Magna Carta 1215), special legislation on a national and international level must be drafted regarding the so-called targeted killings, or tactical (targeted) bombing, particularly when it could be considered a legal action and when not.
To reaffirm trust among peoples, it is time to rebuild the concepts on democratic governance, considering the free and fair elections as a necessary condition, while the sufficient conditions are linked to cultural, social and economic emancipation.
A new political balance and evaluation is needed for the binomials: stability and democracy, democracy and effectiveness. On an international level, this effectiveness must be measured by the solution of different frozen conflicts (Kashmir and the India- Pakistan relations, Arab- Israeli conflict and Palestinian question, Western Sahara conflict; the Cyprus dispute; the situation in Transnistria (frozen since 1992); the Nagorno- Karabakh war (frozen since 1994); the Abkhaz –Georgian conflict; the Georgian- Ossetian conflict, or today, the Ukraine- Russia conflict and Crimean annexation, etc.. Some of them do not exist anymore or are resolved. One of them was the reunification of Vietnam, on April 30, 1975, but unfortunately under a communist regime. Another one was the successful reunification of Germany, on October 3rd, 1990, as the German population had been split between West and East Germany with a ratio of 4- to -1. An acceptable result was the peace agreement between two religious groups, the Protestants and the Catholics, in Northern Ireland. Actually, the Belgrade–Pristine negotiations and agreements are helping to the normalization of relations between two countries. Also, there is a real chance for a solution of a half century frozen conflict in Korea; more precisely to achieve the reunification of divided Korea, where the Korean populations are closer in size, with around 26m North Korean citizens compared to South Korea's 51m, a near 2-to-1 ratio. This reunification process is a very important step towards global peace. For that, any local, regional or global contribution is very important. Our meeting is also a real and useful step approaching this convergent aim.
At the end, I like to remember here what Confucius said, 450 years before the birth of Christ: “What I hear, I forget; what I see, I remember; what I do, I understand”. Let’s do it together. We’ve heard what we have to do. We’ve seen what we need to do. Now is the time to do it, and, together, we can do it.”
President of Belarus 1991-1994
"It is very difficult to build a worthy state under war conditions"
"I feel comfortable here because, 57 years since my college graduation and 48 years since my doctorate in physics, I remain a university professor rather than a politician. For this reason, when I speak, I respect the principle that guided my whole life: one’s speech must have a main topic that will link the rest of the analyzed issues.
I am proud of the fact that we had a connection with the events at Belovejskaya Puşcia, with the signing on December 8th, 1991 of the Convention establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States. On the same day, I did a second thing that I am proud of: I said that I will convince Parliament to remove nuclear weapons from Belarus. There were enough nuclear weapons in my country to destroy all of Europe, 81 ballistic nuclear warheads. Parliament endorsed my request and, until 1996, we were able to finish this process. This is how we started to build a new state, a democratic and peaceful state. We have tried to do this honestly, but it is not at all easy. First of all, this is not allowed because of the level of precarious education. Communist ideas were so popular because it was not necessary to have great knowledge. Only Lenin wrote great, philosophical treatises that are profound and interesting. But for Communist rulers there was only one simple rule: the plan at any cost. No treaty or science were needed.
To build a good and prosperous life for citizens, it is necessary to work every day. In our post-Soviet republics, those who have the ability to work have built quite prosperous and sufficiently civilized states. First of all, it is about the Baltic States. Further success differs from case to case. We see the horrors happening today in Ukraine, against which another strong state is waging war, which hides its actions under all sorts of tricks. It is very difficult to build a worthy state under war conditions, there will be corruption and betrayal, because it is difficult to be different. But in other countries, including Belarus, it just happens that people like to keep their power, they have not grown to the level at which power relies on the people and, in fact, they create cores for the continuation of the Cold War. It is also necessary for Belarus to be reunified internally, because in my home country there are diametrically opposed approaches to life.
In South Korea, a great deal has been done and much remains to be done. Since 1992, I've been there for more than 30 times, and I have been talking to people of very different social convictions. Not everyone wants unification, there are also Koreans, some very educated and highly qualified, who fear this unification.
In 1992 I received a parliamentary delegation from North Korea. They were very nice and accommodating people, but they could not say anything except what was written in the documents they had arrived with. They were afraid to think freely, and the struggle for freedom of thought seems to me to be one of those features that should be more present in all our actions.
I doubt that there is someone in the world who would not want the unification of the two Koreas, everyone understands that breaking a people is terrible when families are falling apart. But finding a solution is complicated and I don’t say it as a dilettante. Addressing such a topic in the world seems to me to be a long-term task and we must not fear that it will not succeed every time.”
President of Croatia 2000-2010
"Because they cannot stop the war, the United Nations needs to reform itself, but also to reaffirm itself in order to return to the role it has been given upon its establishment"
“The theme of today's meeting is “Experiences at the End of the Cold War”, a theme as provocative, as well as pretentious. As a result of the experience caused by Nazi Fascism, the world wanted to create mechanisms that would prevent and not cause a new global conflict, which is why the United Nations was established, but the Nazi Fascist winners have been divided into two opposing social, political and economic blocks. There are major changes in the overall structure of the international community. There are new security challenges that are not primarily related to the use of military force, nor do they exclude it. Colonies had been freed until that date and a new world architecture was born. The history of international relations records a large number of challenges in this bipolar international community. These challenges had almost always been suppressed by the leaders of the two blocks and kept within the boundaries of the blocks. Despite these things, the Cold War began. Threats were high, brutal wars in the two Koreas and Vietnam were boosted, risk of conflict expansion had been great, but the very fear of not spreading the war and of using nuclear weapons, stopped its expansion. Just the fear of a nuclear war, that of having to resort to nuclear weapons in the bipolar war, contributed to the expansion of the nuclear shock.
During the Cold War there is still a factor that is sometimes forgotten, namely: the establishment of the Non-Alignment Movement. More than 150 countries, which were not part of any of the two blocks, through their peaceful policy, helped reduce war tensions and ease relations between antagonistic blocs.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Eastern bloc has disappeared, bipolarity disappeared, for a short time only one great power remained: the United States of America. Russia is still a great force, after its come back. China is the world's largest producer, but also a nuclear power. Is there any exit path? I think so. The United Nations had to reaffirm itself, but also reform itself to regain its role in establishing it. To do this, the United Nations must implement reforms. First, to be able to act preventively. In order to make the reform of the United Nations possible, political will is needed, first of all from the great powers, but also by consensus of the international community.
I can share with you my experience: I was the last president of Yugoslavia, I knew that war was preparing. For us, those in Yugoslavia, it was very clear. I have tried to alert world leaders to stop that war, because there was a possibility that it will expand. I visited the world's metropolis, but I also went to the United Nations. But the United Nations can’t act preventively. They can only act when war had already broken, after the war has ended and when the United Nations can practically solve the situation in the post-conflict society. Because they can’t stop the war, it is necessary for the United Nations to reform itself, but also to affirm itself again. It had to be reformed, but also to reaffirm its return to the role that has been given upon its establishment. In order to achieve this, the United Nations must first implement reforms that will enable them to take preventive action. For the reform of the United Nations, political will is needed. Is this political will? I think not. Avoiding the United Nations has led to the complete degradation of the world order, established after the Second World War. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the break-up of Yugoslavia, a new architecture of Europe is being created, which will be reflected in world relations. But new processes are taking place in Europe: the unification of Germany is reached, there are signs that relations between South Korea and North Korea may be relaxed, followed by the union between these states. All this should lead to new positive movements on the international arena. But to achieve this, in order to ensure lasting peace in Europe and the world, I draw your attention again: it is necessary to reaffirm the United Nations and implement reforms to make the United Nations effective. Only a united Europe can be a major factor in world peace. That is why, at all the forums, I always plead for the acceleration of Europe's unification, for the acceleration of South-eastern Europe’s accession to Europe, because when all the countries have joined in, they will open their borders and war will be excluded as a political means, because people will remain what they are in the united Europe, states will remain what they are, every nation will live entirely in its corpus, regardless of the border. It will also be useful to the world to look at peace with other eyes and understand that peace is possible.”
President of Ukraine 2005-2010
"Each conflict has characteristics that can be a model for the resolution of any other conflict"
"I would start with the fact that, no matter what issue is being discussed in our conferences at our forums, we always understand that the number one issue, the most important thing that will always be on the agenda, is security, peace, and in the event of war, the means to get out of that war.
If a war dictionary has ever be written, I think 80-90% of the terminology of this dictionary will come from Europe. Europe has started two World Wars and these have been on a large scale. I will talk about the two lessons we have acquired before today, an internal and an external one, as well as what democracy can do in this regard.
In 2004, after the authorities forged the election, 10 million Ukrainians out of 47 million went to Maidan Square to protest. We were a step away from civil war. I asked the authorities for just one thing: dialogue. But the authorities have not come to this dialogue. We have reached out to Europe, to the European family: "Let's force the Ukrainian authorities to come to dialogue". Finally, although the authorities were being influenced to use weapons to scatter the Maidan, in three days I had three rounds of negotiations. The first lesson I learned from that very difficult period for my nation is that democracy can do everything. Provided we put it right on the agenda, and we offer the possibility that all the challenges on the agenda are going through procedurally. The second lesson, which I have mastered through democracy would be that, following the 2004 conflict, we became a united nation. I also have another lesson, rather external, as Stanislav Stanislavovici said.
In 1992, when Belarus and Ukraine signed the Lisbon Protocol regarding the reduction of nuclear weapons, ratified in Budapest in 1994, Ukraine had 1300 nuclear missiles, a larger arsenal than the French, British and Chinese arsenals together. I have very close friendships with presidents who supported this political process from the Ukrainian side, and I thought they were taking a unique step towards the end of the Cold War. We were convinced that we had a mechanism guaranteeing Ukrainian integrity and our security. We were not members of any unit, but we have obtained the instrument that very few people have til now: the guarantees of five countries, the five largest nuclear powers in the world. It seemed to us that we are sitting beside God, that we have found such a mechanism for eternity, that many problems existing with our neighbors, related to security, will not reach us. We applauded and engaged in this policy, in this step. I take a 26-year time-out and I go back today. Ukraine lost 7% of its territory and 12,000 people have been killed. The number of wounded is more than 40,000. We still lose every day. We have not reached a full consultation, as the memorandum provides, with all five of our nuclear safeguards, and this is the next lesson that involuntarily comes to my mind: why do we lose today? I mean Europeans. I think that because we are not consistent, we are often shy and very often irresponsible.
There are six armed conflicts in Eastern Europe today: Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Crimea, Transnistria, Donbas. Behind them is a single occupant: Russia. Some conflicts started 26 years ago, and for 26 years politics and European diplomacy have not found the necessary mechanism to resolve this type of conflict. It is not an internal conflict, not a national one, but a geopolitical one. And geopolitical conflicts can only be overcome with the help of geopolitical instruments.
Ukraine does not face this challenge alone, the same as Georgia. We need a dialogue in which to formulate a common assessment and common values. Then I guarantee you that we will have a common plan to overcome this challenge very quickly. I have summarized one fifth of our European and national history with one purpose, to point out that each conflict has characteristics that can be a model for the resolution of any other conflict. And practice showed me swiftly that if we accept dialogue, however complicated and long it may be, we can find solutions including the issue of relations between North and South Korea. Over a quarter of a century later, we have enough lessons to learn to know what needs to be done, including the Korean issue."
Former Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
”We have earthquakes, we have floods, we have epidemics, but this in Bosnia-Herzegovina was a long genocide”
“And that is the term of “tragical events”, that was used to describe genocide in Bosnia Herzegovin. Now we have the rules established by the United States, stating that it was an international conflict, not a civil war. What is a tragical event? We have earthquakes, we have floods, we have epidemics, but this in Bosnia-Herzegovina was not a tragical event, it was a long genocide, now recognized as such by the International Court of Justice in the Hague. The Security Council of the United Nations facilitated genocide by imposing the arms embargo on September 25th, 1991. In a small country of 4 million people we officially had 120.000 people dead, most of them, civilians. This is a very, very tragic event.
Those who did it are in prison for many years, some are for lifetime. Those who facilitated it, the United Nations who imposed the embargo and had not lifted it until present, now they say that they are all sorry and the Secretary General said : Well, you know, mistakes happen!
The project of Bosnia-Herzegovina is alive and well in front of us. So what do we do now? Do we pretend that this project does not exist? And this project is a danger for Europe as a whole, a danger for the international community. I do not believe that genocide, concentration camps, forced deportations are values of the European Union and Europe and European countries. I do not believe that. But because this project is kept alive intact, while the criminals are in prison, says something else, and that is that the values of genocide and concentration camps and massacres are being encrypted into the codex of the European values systems. So further on, things like that may happen in Europe, although they had happened already in places like we said before: Donbas, Crimea, Transnistria, maybe tomorrow something else. My question is will genocide, concentration camps, forced deportations become European values and probably the source of law on this great continent of Europe?
După atâția ani de la trasarea unei linii de demarcație între Coreea de Nord și Coreea de Sud am putea spune că starea de conflict a devenit normală. Dar și pacea este normală. De aceea suntem atât de entuziasmați de pașii concreți spre pace în relația dintre Coreea de Nord și Coreea de Sud.
We are talking about solidarity here and I am glad that Chairman Lee is trying to put us together, so we can express our views, maybe to support each other. After so many years since the demarcation line was established between North Korea and South Korea one might say that a state of conflict became a normal state there. And peace is normal as well. See how excited we are both about North and South Korea. We are all excited about that.
How can we have peace as normal? In my opinion, we have to start with children at a formative age so that we can build a generation, that we can have a culture of peace. That we can not do without a new generation. I hope we can call it the generation of peace.
Judge of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Macedonia
”We needed a lot of energy to get rid of intolerance, for us to live in a multinational and multi-confessional society.”
I am here to provide support for the achievement of peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula. I am here in a new era, which has witnessed the opening of relations between North and South Korea, after the historical meeting between the leaders of two cultures. Dialogue is a political form which should bring the Korean people closer together, who were unnaturally divided into two states. Two nations that speaks the same language, share the same traditions, customs, culture, folk dance, but also historical victories and defeats. But most important in our day, also common private kinship and friendly relationships, which were suspended for a long time.
The declaration of peace uniting the Korean peninsula is in the right direction, not only for citizens of Korea, but for the world as a whole. The process of peaceful resolution should take place according to the example of the process of democratization of countries in Eastern Europe and the unification of Germany.
The changes in Eastern Europe are the foundation of common justice and harmony. In this process, my country, the Republic of Macedonia has been separated peacefully from ex-Yugoslav Federation and proclaimed independence. We are a democratic society and regime, who has created peace and coexistence between Christians, Muslims and other communities. Citizens seek justice and equality before Constitution and laws, they seek economic security, but they encounter many difficulties. First, the emergence of nationalism, which seriously puts into question the cohesion of the society. We needed a lot of energy to get rid of intolerance, for us to live in a multinational and multi-confessional society. We are trying to become a member of NATO and the European Union. However, the most difficult problem, the absolute problem, is the creation of a constitutional and sustainable Republic of Macedonia. The negotiations are humiliating, but we are accomplished that this is the road for peace and reach our neighbors’ economic development.
Therefore, I am here as a person who in my professional career served law and justice. I want to affirm the principles of cooperation and peaceful negotiation in the most difficult issue, in the interest of peace. This peaceful initiative should be guaranteed under the international law and reach international guarantees. In this process we are friends of Korea, we support all youth and all layers of society, for the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula.
Man Hee Lee:
President of the “Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light” (HWPL)
”Unification can start taking place if the people are allowed to go back and forth between North and South Korea freely, even starting this year.”
During the tragic Korean War, I was a combatant fighting on the frontlines. You can imagine how much atrocity I witnessed with my eyes. The 1st Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace was held at the UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan.
I told the people gathered to ask the youths who are buried there. I said that they were my comrades who fought on the frontlines with me. I asked them, “Did anyone ever repay for what they lost?” Can politics or current laws pay for their lives that were sacrificed, the lives that were born into the same world as us but never got to blossom? Should we repeat such wars? Should the youths sacrifice their lives in wars again? Should the parents send their children to such wars again? If everyone truly despises wars and yearns for peace, we need to be one in peace. This is why I ask you if the 10 articles and 38 clauses of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War are implemented as international law, peace will come true. In order to ensure that the people of Korea will never have to experience such sorrow and suffering again, we need to achieve world peace. We cannot rest when just one nation is at peace. We need a world of peace. Regardless of who it is, everyone needs to be a messenger of peace. Why? Because it is not a duty of any single individual, is it our duty as a whole; it’s all of our responsibility
Unification can start taking place if the people are allowed to go back and forth between North and South Korea freely, even starting this year. North Korea is not yet a fully recognized state and does not have much in financial assets. They have nothing, and are stripped naked—what kind of properties can they own? They have nothing. Even if North Korea builds nuclear arsenals, would China or Russia welcome it? The world would not. Then is there someone who will back them financially to live? South Korea is hiring people from different nations to give them jobs, so why wouldn’t this be the case for the North Koreans as well? Isn’t it simple?
I speak with full confidence that achieving peaceful unification on the Korean peninsula will lead to the establishment of peace across the globe. I am certain. How long it takes will depend on how hard we work. With your support, the process will be expedited.
“Youth let's voice out”
The “Youth, Let’s Voice Out” project, which shall be initiated from this year May, was brought up with the idea to encourage the Romanian youth to voice out on both domestic and international issues related with peace. Especially at the upcoming May conference, we will be arranging a time for the youth to be introduced to and voice out on current international issues related to global peace and security.
During the event, the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) will be introduced to the participants, which HWPL reconstituted the existing principles of international law on peace and cessation of war for it to be observed no longer in a passive but in an active level. Also, a time for the Romanian youth to take part in IPYG's "Peace Letter" project will be arranged. The "Peace Letter" project is a worldwide project, which the youth in each country urges their heads of state to advocate and support the DPCW for it to be introduced well to the international society.
We are confident that each letter which each youth has written for the project all around the world shall become a precious dot that completes the big mosaic of world peace that we may leave as a masterpiece in the world history. Therefore, we sincerely ask you to please come and give a speech to encourage the youth to participate this great work to inherit peace as a legacy to the world.
Emil Constantinescu, president of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, Keynote speech at the HWPL youth conference ”Youth, let’s voice out”:
„We are not talking about only the future of the Korean Peninsula, of Romania, Eastern Europe or the Balkans. We are talking and we are preoccupied with the future of the entire world of tomorrow, which has to be a world for everyone”
„At the end of the year 1989, during the Romanian revolution, the first who took the courage to protest against of a merciless dictatorship were the young people. And, unfortunately, the number of those who paid with their own lives crying ”Liberty, we love you, we either win or die!” was huge, as any loss of human life is huge.
But the collapse of the communist regime has not produced so many victims in any other country of the Central or Eastern Europe, or in the countries of the former USSR.
This should not happen again, and we have the responsibility to do all is in our powers, so the tragedies of the world not to repeate elsewhere.
In the first years after the Romanian revolution, while fighting against the new communist regime established in Bucharest, I have worked with many young people. There was the same situation during my 4 years presidential mandate, and also in the following years at the Academy of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin or in other countries where I was invited to lecture at the international conferences.
In Seul, I was impressed by the number of the young people I saw working together with Chairman Man Hee Lee, by their remarcable qualities and their deep belief that the world can and must become a better place and they have the responsibility to contribute to this.
The young people who are working today at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization are very much alike. And this similarity, beyond borders, beyond linguistic, cultural or religious differences, gives me trust.
We are not talking about only the future of the Korean Peninsula, of Romania, Eastern Europe or the Balkans. We are talking and we are preoccupied with the future of the entire world of tomorrow, which has to be a world for everyone.
I am looking now at you, the young present today in this room, and I have the feeling of handing over the baton to the young generation. Man Hee Lee, the Chairman of HWPL, the Presidents Rexhep Meidani, Stanislav Shushkevich, Stjepan Mesić, Viktor Yushchenko and myself, as well as Gennady Burbulis, the strategist of the transformation process of the communist empire into a democratic society, Haris Silajdžić and Milka Ristova, we all have shared with you our experience from a period of huge political, economic, cultural, scientific and technological transformations that the world has known. We hope this experience will be useful to you in the next period of major transformations that is ahead of you.
The future belongs to you and I am sure you know how to manage it wisely.”
Cultural diplomacy. Traditions and perspectives in the Levant
Education is the only way of ensuring respect for diversity
“The third panel of the present conference, entitled „Cultural Diplomacy. Traditions and Perspectives in the Levant“, consisted of two sessions, of which the first has been moderated by Ms. ShoshanaBekerman, Director of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics, and Mr. Dan Petre, General Director of the Romanian Diplomatic Institute, while the second session was presided over by Dr. Alexandra Zbuchea, Acting General Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levantine Culture and Civilization.
This „challenging panel“, as Mr. Petre stated in his introduction to the contributions, debated on the role of cultural diplomacy, and especially – as Ms. Bekerman has emphasized – on its importance in the struggle for peace with regard to the present situation in the Levant.more about Cultural diplomacy. Traditions and perspectives in the Levant...